Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hitchens on Deathbed Conversion. Did Hitchens just say he has a soul?

In a recent interview, which you can view here, Christopher Hitchens, who is dying from esophageal cancer, was anxious to dispel, ahead of time, any possibility that some religious groups might try to exploit a "supposed" death-bed conversion.  He wants to assure us that even if he should utter such a conversion, it would be the chemicals in his brain speaking rather than himself.  As he put it, “It would not have been made by me.  The entity making such a remark might be -- you know -- a raving, terrified person whose cancer has spread to the brain.”

So, he tells us we can rest assured that despite such an event, the real Hitchens is as unrepentant yesterday as he is today, and so shall he be forever.  Any such turn to Christ would be a "fake" C. Hitchens -- a Hitchens controlled by chemicals.  Which brings us to the inconsistency of Hitchens' claim. 

He acts and speaks as if there is a "real" C. Hitchens distinguishable from chemistry in his brain -- but on Hitchens' account of reality, "he" is only matter controlled by physical laws, and he has always been controlled by physics.  The only way to make sense of his statement is that he believes there is a part of himself that is independent of physical laws and immune to changes in his physical state, and "that" C. Hitchens  is the one he feels compelled to assert is real and unrepentant to the end. But such a part -- a persistent, rationally reasoning part that is independent of physical laws and material reality --   is an immaterial part that Christian theism calls his soul.

But that places him on Christian ground -- a ground that he irrationally denies.   Christopher Hitchens is still suffering from intellectual schizophrenia.  Such are the self-contradictions and the absurdities of atheism.

No comments: